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I Cover the Waterfront

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I Cover the Waterfront

Published 1933

From IMDb: An investigative reporter romances a suspected smuggler's daughter.

Stars: Claudette Colbert, Ben Lyon, Ernest Torrence, and Hobart Cavanaugh

A shorter version of this movie can be found here.

Run time 72 minutes, 21 seconds
Producer Edward Small
Production Company Edward Small Productions
Audio/Visual Mono, Black & White
Language English


Reviewer: bobdyslexic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 18, 2011
Subject: The Old Man and the Sea Redux (sort of)
During the course of this film the audience is given a look at the atmosphere of the depression era waterfront near San Diego. There is the traditional Hollywood insertion of the news reporter, all snappy, and irrelevant. The principle character of the Smuggler/Skipper/Father is one of few principles, low moral character, educated by the sea. He epitomizes the sort of man who views the world by what it can give, and he takes with little compunction. But he values only one thing above money, his daughter. At his end he sacrifices all he has left to provide for her! Yes, he is ruthless, self-tormenting,and a survivor at the expense of all but his child. The film has little sympathy for the prostitutes, drunkards, Coast Guard, or other denizens of the port, not even for the "news", or those who read it!

Has anything changed?
Reviewer: LordOfTheExacto - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 11, 2011
Subject: Claudette Colbert.... Oh, my sweet Lord!!
Her entry as she comes out of the water should not be viewed by anybody with a heart condition.

I'm going to disagree with learning richard about the racism. Yes, by today's standards it's abhorrent. Heck, I doubt anybody in the audience even at the time would have excused the old man's actions simply because it was a Chinese. But such situations really were a fact of life. We still see it today in the immigrant-smuggling trade. And his callousness is highlighted by the qualms of conscience that his mate has over letting the man die.

Any man is capable of repugnance and also of redemption. I thought that process was well portrayed here.
Reviewer: learning richard - favoritefavorite - February 9, 2011
Subject: best? eh i dont think so
Ok so I just saw this. It has a heaping helping of racism in it against Asian (ie Chinaman, Chink as referred to in the movie's dialog) folks which precludes it being the "best". That shades the whole movie. The bad guy, the smuggler, commits a horrible murder in the beginning of the movie which makes him a disgusting abhorrent person who cannot be redeemed... yet because the victim is Asian the writers make an assumption that the smuggler seaman can later be redeemed by a good turn.

In modern movies this guy would be rightly seen as a skunk and folks would have cheered his death. No writer in today's world would attempt to redeem this slug.

Outside of that? Great period piece, wonderful views of the waterfront... catchy dialog, and claudette colbert looked and did a great job.

2 stars for the blatant, unapologetic racism. Never mind how well done and watchable the movie is otherwise. As an old film buff I know all about suspending my views on mysogeny, racism, etc... but come on folks this one goes a tad too far for my sensibilities.
Reviewer: Gari4nil - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 10, 2010
Subject: Just Brilliant!!
I agree almost totally with Karen, this has to be my favourite film at the moment and I'm so glad this version is here.

If it's only one of the best films on the site and not The Best film. Then you've had more success than me searching this site. Perhaps you can give us some of your choice favourites.

I gave the 60 minute version 4 * so this has to be 5*
Reviewer: kareneliot - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 30, 2010
Subject: This should be "Required Viewing"
One of the best films on the archive, and not to be missed. I give this absolute classic my highest recommendation.

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